I have got so behind with this little challenge of mine, haven't I?! Seriously, I'm not exactly sure what happened, but somehow it's nearly a month since I wrote about the angel food cake. I mean, what?!
Clearly, I'm really behind on these technical bakes I've promised to make, and really I haven't got a very good excuse for that. I'd actually intended to make the egg custard tarts last week- my older brother was home, and they're something he absolutely loves- but just completely ran out of time. But at the weekend, I decided that enough was enough, and I'd get back on it, and when I saw on Twitter that my lovely Bess was making this cinnamon pull apart bread, I was inspired to make something yeast-based a go. Enter, English muffins.
Now despite the massive clue in the name, I'd actually always thought that English muffins were an American invention. Apparently not- they're an old English thing. This is pretty obvious when you think about the nursery rhyme "The Muffin Man" as a child, and who noticed the mention of a muffin man in Jane Austen's Persuasion?! Certainly not me, but hey ho.
If somehow you aren't aware, muffins are a sort of yeast-leavened roll, which I first tried toasted on an Aga and topped with butter and honey- and this is still my favourite way to eat them. I'd never ever thought of making them though, and was keen to have a go.
|Yeast, flour, and salt- good starting points for any bread recipe!|
I found Paul Hollywood's recipe fairly straightforward and easy to follow, and even without instructions would have been able to make the dough pretty well, I think, even though I'm by no means a bread maker. Under normal circumstances, I just don't have the patience for bread, and it's true, in this situation the waiting around was the thing I found the most frustrating (though this was alleviated by LR popping in for a cup of tea while I was waiting for the dough to prove).
|This was pre-second prove, I think....|
Despite the recipe being easy to follow and giving me pretty decent results, I definitely found these much more difficult than the angel food cake I made a few weeks ago, and I'd put that down to a lack of experience. In particular, I found griddling the muffins fairly tricky, and as you can see slightly scorched the outside of them (but this actually couldn't be tasted, so probably isn't that bad). I didn't find it that difficult to judge when they were done though- I found that if you poked at the side of the muffin, you could definitely tell if they were done as the muffins bounced back slightly more- I just struggled to get the heat of the pan right.
However, I was not very successful at getting eight even muffins from my dough- I got ten uneven ones, and Paul Hollywood would have had my guts for garters as a result. Must improve on my consistency, as who wants to be the baker lambasted for having two monster muffins and eight average-but-uneven ones?! If you're going to make these, I'd make sure you remember that the dough will rise a lot more when you're griddling them- I was so worried about mine being a bit thin, hence how I ended up with the two monsters.